Stay Safe: Documents to Have in Case You Need to Leave

In this installment of our Stay Safe series, we’re taking a look at what specific documents you may want to have close at hand or stashed somewhere safe so you can easily get to them if the time comes that you choose to leave your abusive relationship.


Financial abuse is present in 98% of abusive relationships. Having documentation is a good way to be able to keep using your financial resources if you decide to leave. If you’re able, keep the most recent copies of these documents at the ready:

  • Bank statements/account information
  • Checkbook
  • Credit card statements
  • Tax returns
  • Documentation on any outstanding loans


Many legal documents can be difficult or costly to replace and in the case of children, sometimes require the signature of both parents. Having the following on hand can alleviate those possibilities.

  • Driver’s license
  • Any housing documents – rental or lease agreements/mortgage statements/deeds
  • Automobile documents – title or lease paperwork/registration
  • Will
  • Passports for you and any children
  • Birth certificates
  • Social security cards
  • Medicare/Medicaid cards
  • Any documentation that shows someone else has power over your legal or medical affairs (it might be a good idea to cancel these if possible)
  • Marriage certificate/prenuptial agreement
  • Immigration paperwork
  • Any documentation of a history of violence including restraining orders, ex parte orders, or arrest records


Make certain to have proof of all insurance coverages.

  • Automobile
  • Health
  • Life
  • Home
  • Any other property that is covered


And, finally, a few more items that can help to have handy.

  • Vaccination records for children
  • Passwords for email/bank accounts/credit card accounts
  • Addresses and phone numbers of important contacts
  • Take photos of any valuable property in the home that has either sentimental or monetary value

It may seem like a lot, but packing up and securing as many of these documents as you can could save you time, money and bring a little peace of mind if you decide to leave.


The Greene County Family Justice Center is a non-profit collaborative of local agencies offering comprehensive services to survivors of domestic, sexual, and family violence. Our services are trauma-informed, survivor-centered, and we welcome survivors at any point in their process. We partner with local non-profit service providers as well as local law enforcement, the Prosecutor’s office, and Children’s Division to make victim services more accessible and completely voluntary. If you do not want to participate in the criminal justice process, we support you.

Our vision is a future where we all work together to meet the needs of domestic violence and human trafficking survivors through comprehensive and accessible services, education, and perpetrator accountability. Through a coordinated framework and co-located response, we strive to break the vicious generational cycle and community impact of domestic violence and resulting victimizations.

We can help you plan for your safety whether you plan to stay in the relationship, or you are actively trying to escape. All our services are free, confidential and survivor centered. Have questions about what services are available? Visit us at 1418 E. Pythian Street or give us a call at 417-874-2600. We are open 8:30 AM to 4:00 PM, Monday through Friday. For after-hours assistance, call the Harmony House/Victim Center’s 24-hour safe line at 417-864-SAFE (7233). If you are in immediate danger, please call 911.